Download file to access embedded PPT slide notes, featuring important additional information and links, including URLs of the videos referred to in the presentation. Author’s profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/2/663/687 See also: http://healthcybermap.org/sl.htm
Three-dimensional (3-D) virtual worlds like Second Life® http://secondlife.com/ and Twinity http://twinity.com/ can be considered as 3-D social networks, where people can collaboratively create and edit objects in the virtual world (think of it as a ‘3-D wiki’), besides meeting each other and interacting with existing objects.
Contacts in Second Life® are not just ‘once-only’, though they can definitely be so if a user chooses to limit him/herself to only one-time encounters.
Many of the communities formed around Second Life® tend to become tightly-knit with time, with people collaborating in groups and getting to know each other better and more personally through their digital identities (and sometimes also by their real identities).
Some Second Life ® Groups and meetings feel like a real family; bonds are real and so are the losses.
The relationships may even extend to real life or make important parts of real life activities, and that is why 3-D virtual worlds are sometimes referred to in the literature as 3-D real- virtual worlds, since they are and can be a very real part of our real lives.
Astonishingly real! Real Hope in a Virtual World ( Washington Post – 6 October 2007): “Because the full-colour, multifaceted nature of the experience offers so much more ‘emotional bandwidth’ than traditional Web sites, e-mail lists and discussion groups, users say the experience can feel astonishingly real.”
Today’s flat Web allows us to call up “flat” information; a 3-D virtual environment allows us to more naturally experience and visualise this information in real-time with others and also appreciate their presence around us .
Virtual worlds are such an appealing concept to users primarily because of the social ‘ co-presence ’ of others in these worlds in a very realistic manner.
When people are browsing the flat Web shop of Amazon.com , for example, they cannot see, chat with, and benefit from the experiences/ opinions of, other people looking for the same items in real time, as they would do in a supermarket’s aisle in the physical world. But with 3-D virtual worlds this is very possible.
Although there are some very early flat Web co-browsing solutions under development like Weblin ( http://www.weblin.com/ − flat) and YOOWALK ( http://www.yoowalk.com/ − 2.5-D) that have attempted to bridge this gap, they are not without their limitations, and it is expected that they will only achieve their full potential within 3-D online social worlds or the Metaverse over the coming decade as technology matures further.
Unlike conventional video conferencing over the Web, 3-D virtual worlds offer and add strong cognitive cues that enhance collaboration:
3-D spatialised audio and avatar lip-synching,
bring emotion/pseudo-body language communication to meetings (thanks to sophisticated, highly customisable avatars — one step closer to face-to-face contacts, but less “threatening”/with more “protection” for those needing this), as well as
a shared pseudo-physical 3-D space that can be used in a variety of ways.
A versatile like-real collaboration platform-Cont’d:
Humans are spatial beings by nature, inhabiting feature-rich 3-D analogue spaces, so a 3-D synthetic space should not be more cognitively demanding from a human-computer interface viewpoint (compared to conventional flat interfaces), if properly designed and presented.
In fact, it could even make some presentations that are overly complex in 2-D version much less complicated to understand when ported to a more native 3-D environment.
Why 3D for Collaboration? (Sun Microsystems) “ One question we are frequently asked is why use 3-D for a collaboration environment? While it might be possible to build a 2-D tool with functionality similar to MPK-20, the spatial layout of the 3-D world coupled with the immersive audio provides strong cognitive cues that enhance collaboration . For example, the juxtaposition of avatars in the world coupled with the volume and location of the voices allows people to intuit who they can talk to at any given time. The 3-D space provides a natural way to organize multiple, simultaneous conversations. Likewise, the arrangement of the objects within the space provides conversational context. If other avatars are gathering near the entrance to a virtual conference room, it is a good guess that they are about to attend a meeting in that space. It is then natural to talk to those people about the content or timing of the meeting, just as you would if attending a physical meeting. In terms of data sharing, looking at objects together is a natural activity. With the 3-D spatial cues, each person can get an immediate sense of what the other collaborators can and cannot see .”
Designed to provide education about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), prevention of unintended pregnancy, and promotion of equalitarian sexual relationships, the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM in Second Life® provides a wide variety of educational experiences, including opportunities to test knowledge of sexual health through quizzes and games, Web resources integrated within the virtual context, and live in-world seminars on sexual health topics.
Our 2007/2008 seminars covered the topics of domestic violence; STIs, contraception and family planning; female sexuality; sexual purity and healthy relationships from a Christian Orthodox perspective; and ‘sex and disability’.
A mini-evaluation of the project was conducted in 2007/2008. Primary methods of evaluation consisted of a survey (n=135) and traffic statistics on the virtual programme.
Questionnaire evaluation results (n=135) indicated that the Sexual Health SIM was positively viewed by its audience.
The SIM received more than 4000 unique visitors between July 2007 and July 2008. Repeat visitors figures for the same period are much higher.
The SIM also fostered the development of a vibrant virtual community around it.
Visit at http://healthcybermap.org/slsexualhealth/
Wear a skin disease! Don’t miss our AIDS-related Kaposi Sarcoma Experience inSL™: Now you can wear a special clothing layer to see and experience on your own avatar how Kaposi Sarcoma looks/feels in AIDS patients. Video 2:38 min.
Avatars attending a seminar at the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM in Second Life® Community In-world seminars Sexual Health SIM Group in-world Video 2:02 min.
“ With any innovative technology there are critics who debate its usefulness. However, one recalls when critics questioned the validity and reliability of the stethoscope invented by Laennec in 1816 and how today it is second nature to use this assessment tool .” (Hansen, 2008)
Non-gaming 3-D virtual worlds are part of the future 3-D Internet, though of course not in their current (2008) form, which can be compared to the Web in the early 1990s in terms of technology, and is still also largely proprietary.
Miklos Sarvary, Director of the Centre for Learning Innovation at Insead, has drawn parallels between the life cycle of broadcasting and the Internet:* just as radio gave way to the more immersive experience of TV, today’s flat Web sites will morph into more interactive, immersive multi-user experiences in which users can see and interact with each other in more natural ways.
* Sarvary M: Breakthrough ideas for 2008: The metaverse – TV of the future? Harvard Business Review 2008, 86(2):17-45
It is predicted that, within 5-10 years, the dominant Internet interface is likely to be the 3-D ‘Metaverse’, the next-generation, high-definition media-rich 3-D Web that will gradually absorb, and seamlessly integrate with (not fully replace), today’s essentially flat World Wide Web and its early 3-D applications like Google Earth.
The European Commission and other consortia (e.g., Metaverse1) and groups are already looking very seriously and investing heavily into this direction (see links in slide notes).
ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp7/ict/docs/netmedia/UCM-Position-paper.pdf Missing in original figure: One can add YouTube videos, 3-D models and other types of user-generated content to Google Earth
“ The 3-D Web is born! It won’t be the proprietary Second Life owned by Linden Lab in 2015, but the 3-D Internet (Open Source/standards) will be there for sure! (Second Life will then become one out of many commercial, value-added providers - cf. history of AOL and CompuServe. Thinking otherwise would be like thinking 15 years ago that the (2-D) Web will be proprietary, owned and run by a single company like Microsoft!)” --M.N.K. Boulos - April 2007
There are many more virtual and mirror worlds today that are not featured in above video tour (e.g., GeoSim http://www.geosimphilly.com/ )
Video break 2008 Metaverse Tour (Running time: 6:58 min. - Source: Gary Hayes / personalizemedia.com)
The future: 3-D Internet standards and interoperability Metaverse1 Consortium Global standards among real and virtual worlds Bridging the gaps within virtual worlds & between virtual and real worlds http://www.metaverse-labs.com/ The distinction between ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ is getting more and more fuzzier as these platforms become more ubiquitous and seamlessly integrated into our daily lives.
The future: 3-D Internet standards and interoperability Video: Across the Metaverse (VWs interoperability) (Running time: 1:58 min. - Source: IBM/Linden Research, Inc., US) Draft requirements for the ISO MPEG-V for 3-D Virtual Worlds >
The ubiquitous 3-D Internet will fully support mobile devices. Video: Vollee’s Mobile SL™ (Running time: 2:36 min. - Source: Vollee, Israel)
Trend: The technology powering virtual worlds and the 3-D Internet, e.g., GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) and Internet infrastructure/bandwidth, continues to get better performance wise at same price of, or even cheaper than previous generations of the same product.
The message of a any given 3-D presence must not become too eclipsed by the cutting-edge technology used to deliver it. Technology needs to be transparent, almost invisible. You feel its presence, but you don’t see it. Technology has to prompt curiosity but remain discrete, so that one can fully focus on the message of the 3-D experience. This is key to successful immersiveness (suspension of disbelief).
One example: Ubisoft’s Scimitar engine can be considered a new ‘gold standard’ in realism and immersiveness.
The engine supports dynamic world loading/full roaming, sandbox environments; advanced realistic physics; full avatar animation (complex and fine movements); complex weather lighting and realistic dynamic shadows of both static and moving objects.
First-timers: As at 18 September 2008 getting a Second Life just got easier with Direct Slurl™!
Visit one or more Second Life® health-related place of your choice from the list at http://healthcybermap.org/sl.htm (under ‘Top locations’).
Conventional flat Web development skills in areas like graphic design do not necessarily translate well to 3-D online worlds. While in-world, reflect on the skills that the latter demand and report back to the group.
What the 3-D Web demands is cinematographers, story-tellers, actors and directors who can get people involved in plots and incentive-based structures that are familiar from everyday life, movies and video games, as one report by McKinsey & Co mentions.
Indeed, a recent futuristic and visionary American government report suggests that by 2020 (or before) we will see new jobs like “ simulation and virtual environments engineers who build and maintain the components for synthetic environments, including specialised scientific software, e.g., a digital human that can be used for a variety of learning situations; specialists in building the components of simulated towns, instruments, landscapes, biological systems, or physical phenomena ”.
Today virtual medical/health libraries, access to remote professionals, clinical skills training in virtual hospitals, and many other medical and health-related applications through such worlds are not remote possibilities. It is therefore inappropriate to think of virtual worlds as mere 3-D multiplayer games.
NHS Second Health inSL™ > http://secondhealth.org/
Second Life® (as a good example of virtual worlds today) is a unique 3-D social networking experience. It allows people from all over the world to meet, share objects and collaborate in many novel ways, using a comprehensive and well-integrated suite of asynchronous and synchronous, multimodal communication tools.
Second Life can also be seen as a vast collaborative 3-D “wiki” and an immersive audio-visual spatial multi-user experience that people can experiment with, edit , and see the changes together in real time (user-generated content)!
3-D virtual worlds are rapidly getting more and more accessible and user friendly (even for people with cognitive and/or physical disabilities). They are here to stay, mature, and eventually become one with, and more tightly and seamlessly integrated into, the flat (2-D) Web and the ‘real world’/our daily lives over the coming months and years (forming the 3-D Internet).